Miranda Cuckson / Thomas Sauer

Music by Ross Lee Finney

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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson

Outside academic circles, the music of Ross Lee Finney is seldom performed, recorded, or enjoyed, partly due to its gray ambiguity -- neither avant-garde "fish" nor conservative "fowl" -- but also because it seems overly cerebral and cautious. Finney's mingling of serial techniques with a modified tonality in traditional forms often seems to work at cross-purposes; yet apart from any difficulties this hybridization may cause theoreticians, lay listeners may find that Finney's music is stylistically ambivalent and aloof in expression, much like Hindemith in his most utilitarian manner. As performed by violinist Miranda Cuckson and pianist Thomas Sauer, Finney's music is at least listenable; rather than focusing on its various problems, they emphasize its most appealing qualities: the witty references to Baroque music in the Fantasy in two movements for solo violin (1958), the almost Classical phrasing and repartee in the Sonata No. 2 for violin and piano (1951) and the Sonata No. 3 in A (1954), and the gregarious populism in Fiddle-doodle-ad: Eight American Folk Tunes (1945). If this CD has lasting interest, it is more to Cuckson's and Sauer's credit than to the music, for this duo offers an attractively balanced sound and a sympathetic expression in their performances that makes Finney's chamber works sound more appealing than they really are, and Centaur gives them better audio reproduction than they usually receive.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Fantasy in 2 movements for solo violin
1 Miranda Cuckson / Thomas Sauer 12:09 Amazon
2 Miranda Cuckson / Thomas Sauer 08:15 Amazon
Sonata for violin & piano No. 2
3 Miranda Cuckson / Thomas Sauer 03:54 Amazon
4 Miranda Cuckson / Thomas Sauer 02:29 Amazon
5 Miranda Cuckson / Thomas Sauer 03:45 Amazon
6 Miranda Cuckson / Thomas Sauer 02:45 Amazon
7 Miranda Cuckson / Thomas Sauer 01:27 Amazon
Sonata for violin & piano No. 3 in A major
8 Miranda Cuckson / Thomas Sauer 06:13 Amazon
9 Miranda Cuckson / Thomas Sauer 03:44 Amazon
10 Miranda Cuckson / Thomas Sauer 10:07 Amazon
Fiddle-doodle-ad: American Folk Tunes (8) for violin & piano
11 Miranda Cuckson / Thomas Sauer 01:01 Amazon
12 Miranda Cuckson / Thomas Sauer 01:09 Amazon
13 Miranda Cuckson / Thomas Sauer 01:15 Amazon
14 Miranda Cuckson / Thomas Sauer 00:59 Amazon
15 Miranda Cuckson / Thomas Sauer 00:31 Amazon
16 Miranda Cuckson / Thomas Sauer 00:48 Amazon
17 Miranda Cuckson / Thomas Sauer 01:26 Amazon
18 Miranda Cuckson / Thomas Sauer 01:39 Amazon
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